Captivate by Vanessa van Edwards aims at making you better with people and social interactions, ranging from the first few seconds of meeting someone to building lasting relationships.
- Bullet Summary
- Full Summary
- Learn the 3 layers of personality types and tailor your communication to them
- Gesticulate as much as possible when giving a presentation
- Listen to what people brag about and complain about to find their values
Part I: The First 5 Minutes
1. Do What You Like
Vanessa says that “always say yes” is terrible advice and that you will not be successful following the “fake it until you make it mantra”.
She says instead you should develop your own social game plan. Find out what you like socially and make those your thriving locations.
My note: fair point, but if you’re really serious about getting good, you should push yourself.
1. Staying at the edge your comfort zone helps a lot in improving quickly as explained The Talent Code,
2. You can “force” yourself into something and still enjoy it. Often the first few minutes are tough and then it gets fun, as rightfully spotted by Jeanne Martinet in The Art of Mingling.
The mindset is: stick through your fears long enough, they will become your addictions.
Vanessa says social events often will have spots highly conducive to positive interactions and other spots which should be avoided.
The entrance should be avoided, for example, while a great spot is right at the exit of the buffet or the bar. Once people got their food or drink they are often desperate to speak to someone.
2. Make a Great First Impression
- friend or foe (you answer it with hands gesture);
- winner or loser (you answer with body language and posture);
- ally or enemy (you answer it with eye contact)?
Body Language: Winners take up space (high power poses), and Vanessa says you should always keep a good posture and open body language. Also she reminds us that power poses gives us confidence and weaker poses make us feel unconfident. So when checking our phone we should raise it up.
Eye Contact: looking at someone a lot says to that person “I like you”. Hold eye contact to produce trust and gaze to build connection. Vanessa van Edwards mentions Brene Brown’s TedTalk and how she used eye contact to build connection with the audience (here’s Brene’s great book summary).
I think it’s a bit preposterous to say “you answer this question with the hands and that question with body language”. All parts co-exist and co-contribute. Eye contact won’t only tell us “ally or enemy”, but also if we’re “winners or losers”.
Vanessa talks a lot about “hot buttons” -what people love- and being unique.
I’m personally not a big fan of uniqueness though, especially if it’s uniqueness for uniqueness’ sake.
Captivate says that talking about ourselves releases dopamine and makes us feel good.
Hence, quoting Carnegie with “to be interesting be interested”, the gist is that you should talk less and listen more.
- celebrating other people’s successes.
- introducing people with a big explanatory compliment
- let people impress you rather than trying to impress them
How to Likeable
Vanessa says we like people who are like us, because it’s more likely we’ll get along well with each other (similarity principle of liking). We like people who are dressed like us and think like us.
Captivate righteously reminds us that one of the biggest mistakes people do is to highlight differences rather than similarities.
Part II – The Matrix
Crack Someone’s Personality
Vaness delves into the the Big Five personality traits: Openness, consciousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism (OCEAN).
Openness: how open you are to new ideas and trying new things (Variety seeker or routine person).
Consciousness measures your self discipline. High tend to have to do lists, low ones find strict schedules asfixiating.
Extroversion: high get energy from being with people and tend to be cheerful and talkative; low drain energy from being with people and crave being alone;
Agreeableness: how you work with other, empathy and forgiveness. High are empathetic and easy to get along with; low are more analytical, like to take decisions without emotions and tend to be more skeptical.
Neuroticisms how worrior you are
Vanessa says that when she started understanding people through the lenses of the Big Five personality traits, her conversation and human interactions started flowing much more smoothly.
Gifts: Show love with gifts or with tokens
Physical Touch: Show love with physical touch such as hugs, caressing, cuddling
Service: Show love by helping someone out
Quality Time: Show love by spending time with the people they love
Vanessa van Edwards says all interactions are transactions (read the law of social exchange).
The major resources being traded are:
Love: gaining acceptance, affection and likability; Service: support and care; Status: responsibility, praise and titles to evoke pride; Money: currency; Goods: tangible products; Information: advice, ideas and teaching.
We need all 6 but we take what we need most and give what we have in abundance. For example people low in self esteem look for likes on their Facebook pages.
How To Find Out People’s Values
Captivate explains that a great way to find out people’s values is to look at what they complain about or what they brag about.
Part III – The First 5 Days
How to Lead People
If you want to get buy on, you have to explain your why, and she mentions Simon Sinek’s Start With WHY. And to give control and ownership, avoid micro managing and let people own their tasks (the autonomy principle in Drive).
What I loved most about this chapter is Vanessa’s great advice on how to best give tasks: you don’t just assign them, but give it to the people with the right skill and tell them they are the best for it because they are the most talented for it.
How to Deal With Difficult People
Vanessa van Edwards speaks a bit about low road and high road and “emotion hijacking” when our fears take us over.
She then goes on with a brilliant dialogue between a man and a woman to point out that when someone complains to us we should resist the urge of going into solution mode and do listen longer instead.
Engage: How to Turn People On
Popular people are more attuned to other people’s popularity. They are more attuned to social signals, social hierarchy and relationships. Popular people also care more about these topics.
Captivate has constant invites to check Vanessa’s website. The advertised link did not take me to any resource though but but to a sign up page. That felt a bit wrong to me.
Some Counterproductive Tips
My opinion is that some tips can be counterproductive. For example, you don’t ask a woman if she “can give you her number”. And you won’t look socially appealing starting a convo by saying you want to “test a convo starter”.
Captivate introduced me to some new great ideas.
Some other parts, I don’t fully agree with. Give it a try and see how it works for you :).
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